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NEWS// China is devouring North Carolina's trees

NEWS// China is devouring North Carolina's trees

Shipping logs to China is a multi-million dollar business in forest-rich North Carolina.

According to the Associated Press, in each of the last five years, the average value of the state’s  wood and wood products exported to China has averaged $165 million. In 2000 wood valued at $5.7 million was shipped to China, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The value of wood shipped to China has jumped nearly 30 times in less than 20 years.

U.S. forests are making China's furniture

Wood from the Carolinas, Virginia, and Tennessee is used to satisfy the hunger in Asian markets, particularly in China, for hardwood furniture. Consumers there with recently acquired wealth are willing to pay the price for quality products.

About 40 percent of North Carolina timber is now destined for Chinese markets, said John Hammond, an international marketing specialist with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, which has a one-person office in China to help promote the state’s farmed products.

The most expensive furniture stays in China

Jimmy Lee, 43, is a Chinese native who owns eleven lumber mills in the eastern United States. He notes, “Ten years ago, China started to consume much more lumber, to make furniture, flooring, any wood products. Five years ago, yellow poplar, which is a very low end chipper wood, China makes the furniture with it, ships it back. But the expensive wood, like walnut, nothing comes back. Cherry, no. Red oak, white oak, mostly stays in China, which is very different than what we are thinking.

“We think America uses the high-end, most expensive wood, for furniture, but in reality, no,” he said. “China is using the most expensive lumber to make the most expensive furniture.”

Source: Washington Times